PDA

View Full Version : USHJA blog / Q&A feature



ponyflyer
Mar. 6, 2012, 10:01 AM
Hi to all,

I know that I have already posted that USHJA created "French Speak" which is the CEO's blog. Now they have added a Q&A feature. You can log in and ask any question that interests you. The only requirement is that you are a USHJA member.

Shelby really wants input. I try to keep my ear to the ground both at horse shows and through the forums and I know that there are many areas of the horse world that need illumination. I strongly suggest that you stand up and make your questions and thoughts known. It is only by participation that we can make changes. You can comment on her blog or ask her a question.

Here are three quotes from Mahatma Gandhi:

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

"Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress."

"Action expresses priorities."

Why not post a question and give it a try? What do you have to lose?

Thank you for considering my request.

Mary Babick

Lucassb
Mar. 6, 2012, 02:00 PM
I really like your quotes ;)

I did take a look at the blog you mention... and, as usual, I have some questions/thoughts/opinions/suggestions to share.

The best blogs are obviously interactive. Requiring a login to post comments or questions makes it less likely that people will take the time to express their thoughts. Do you know why that was done?

I guess my thought is that the USHJA might want to encourage ALL interested parties to participate and share their ideas on such a blog. If you only hear from (a small percentage) of the constituency you already represent, you are potentially missing out on the opportunity to engage a broader population - and a blog is a great way to both publicize what you are doing to a wider audience and perhaps "convert" some to become members (or at least understand why they choose not to be members.)

Is there any way to subscribe to a feed for the blog or be notified of new posts? (Most web users these days are bombarded by information, and to generate a lot of traffic, you need to find a way to rise above the noise, so to speak.) I am sure the USHJA IT/web folks keep metrics on where their traffic comes from, which might be a platform to help advertise the blog and create more interaction with it.

Is there a way to post a new topic/question or can you just respond to the posted topics at this point? I just perused the site quickly and maybe I missed it... but my attempt to "register" just took me to the USHJA page with a general list of renewal options. Since I have already renewed for the year I didn't go through the process again but my (admittedly quick) scan did not reveal a "register for blog" option as far as I could see. Maybe I just missed it?

ponyflyer
Mar. 6, 2012, 02:13 PM
Hi Lucassb!

I am not sure why you have to be a member but if you would like, I will post that as a question on the blog. That way the response will come directly from Shelby.

I, too, found the process somewhat confusing. All you need to do is to log in to your USHJA account to post. It never offered me a chance to create a different user name. To access the questions, click the word "questions" in the upper right hand corner of the French speak screen.

To the best of my knowledge, you can post any question that you wish and also ask for other topics. As far as the blog entries themselves, you can post in response.

I'm sure that the whole thing could be improved but I take it as a sign that our leadership is heading in the direction of leadership instead of managing and directing. In the end, you aren't leading if no one follows you - you are just taking a walk!

Let me know if you want me to ask Shelby your questions about access.

Thanks!

Lucassb
Mar. 6, 2012, 02:52 PM
Hi Lucassb!

I am not sure why you have to be a member but if you would like, I will post that as a question on the blog. That way the response will come directly from Shelby.

I, too, found the process somewhat confusing. All you need to do is to log in to your USHJA account to post. It never offered me a chance to create a different user name. To access the questions, click the word "questions" in the upper right hand corner of the French speak screen.

To the best of my knowledge, you can post any question that you wish and also ask for other topics. As far as the blog entries themselves, you can post in response.

I'm sure that the whole thing could be improved but I take it as a sign that our leadership is heading in the direction of leadership instead of managing and directing. In the end, you aren't leading if no one follows you - you are just taking a walk!

Let me know if you want me to ask Shelby your questions about access.

Thanks!

Sure, please ask the question... I am curious now ;)

If it is not necessary to create a unique ID, they may wish to change the instructions in the welcome section - they currently read


Welcome...
To the new USHJA CEO blog. We welcome your feedback and questions, this tool is exclusively for members and you will need your member number to register. Once registered select your user id and password, when posting comments and questions only the user id you have selected will be shown. We look forward to hearing from you. (emphasis added.)

ponyflyer
Mar. 6, 2012, 04:43 PM
Lucassb,

Okay, I called Shelby and asked your questions. She likes all of your ideas and will go to IT to see if they can make some changes to make it easier and therefore more understandable to log in and to actually choose a log in name. It did not give me that option.

When you log in as a member, it does not disclose who you are to the USHJA - just that you are a member. I'm sure that if you dig deep into the computer system you could find out but collecting that information is not something that interests Shelby. I wonder if people see the member thing as a big brother type experience? I really don't think that is their intent - they are however, trying to get feedback on how they can meet member's needs.

She is also going to see how else to market the blog in the direction that you mention.

Here are her questions to you and all COTHers:

How does the USHJA create a blog/questions that don't duplicate the COTH forums? Which is not the USHJA's intent. The COTH forums serve a valid purpose and have a wide audience. Do you think that the USHJA blog/ Q & A section serve a purpose as well?

Feedback please!

Thanks,

Mary

Lucassb
Mar. 6, 2012, 09:21 PM
That was quick, thanks very much!


How does the USHJA create a blog/questions that don't duplicate the COTH forums? Which is not the USHJA's intent. The COTH forums serve a valid purpose and have a wide audience. Do you think that the USHJA blog/ Q & A section serve a purpose as well?

A few more thoughts (you knew there would be some, right?!)

COTH is a discussion forum where a broad range of topics are posed by the members; (NOT the moderators.) There is a BIG difference between an open discussion forum (like COTH) and a blog, where the blog owner produces most of the content, and users typically post comments on the chosen topic. Yes, users can pose questions - which I guess could be topics for discussion - but until/unless there is a lot of activity on a blog, you don't typically get the interactivity of a forum in that setting, particularly if there is any concern about the organization potentially keeping track of each member's posts. This is one reason I think requiring users to login with their membership credentials may have a chilling effect on participation.

Certainly there is an inherent constraint on the content that USHJA might offer through a blog, where the topics by definition would likely relate only to people who show at a rated level (and thus belong to the organization) and focus on those aspects of the experience that relate to governance issues, showing conditions and so forth that the USHJA is involved in. That is obviously not as broad an audience as the one served by COTH - although in my personal opinion there would be value in understanding the views of people who do NOT choose to be USHJA members, as their insight might identify opportunities for the organization to grow and serve other constituencies.

Given the number of topics on COTH that relate to issues that touch the USHJA in some form or fashion, I do think that there is potentially value in the effort. The challenge will be to create a space where people feel free to voice their opinions and submit their questions without fear of repercussions, and where their input is genuinely valued and respected. No doubt there are challenging topics that will require some sensitivity to address - look at the long and sometimes heated discussions that have taken place on COTH with respect to rules issues, controversy at certain Finals shows, trainer certification, show standards, etc.

If the blog is perceived to be simply an avenue for the USHJA to "justify" its positions or decisions in controversial situations, IMO the blog will probably not be successful. If, on the other hand, it becomes a means of communicating with members (and ideally potential members,) for encouraging dialog, seeking ideas, encouraging participation and creating another avenue to interact with the association, it is likely to be very successful. The key will be offering enough content that is compelling enough to draw members' attention to the site and keep them coming back on a regular basis.

salymandar
Mar. 7, 2012, 08:04 AM
I just wanted to chime in and support Lucassb's posts. I appreciate the USHJA making an effort to reach out to the broader base.

COTH is a place where a wide range of topics are discussed ranging from fun to serious. If USHJA uses its blog as a means to open discussion on issues that affect its membership or potential membership to help guide decision making, it would be a nice step in helping its members feel involved.

The US is a big country and most members do not have the time or resources to attend the annual meeting or join committees, but they do have good ideas that I think the leadership should hear. A blog or forum discussing topics of the day, giving members a chance to weigh in will help reduce the barriers to participation and give USHJA almost immediate feedback.

I am not sure where I stand in terms of members vs. nonmembers participating in discussion. I wonder if it would be possible to allow people to create their anonymous screen name, but then tag them as members or nonmembers. I think it would help USHJA understand where someone's views are coming from.

ponyflyer
Mar. 7, 2012, 11:24 AM
I just wanted to chime in and support Lucassb's posts. I appreciate the USHJA making an effort to reach out to the broader base.

COTH is a place where a wide range of topics are discussed ranging from fun to serious. If USHJA uses its blog as a means to open discussion on issues that affect its membership or potential membership to help guide decision making, it would be a nice step in helping its members feel involved.

The US is a big country and most members do not have the time or resources to attend the annual meeting or join committees, but they do have good ideas that I think the leadership should hear. A blog or forum discussing topics of the day, giving members a chance to weigh in will help reduce the barriers to participation and give USHJA almost immediate feedback.

I am not sure where I stand in terms of members vs. nonmembers participating in discussion. I wonder if it would be possible to allow people to create their anonymous screen name, but then tag them as members or nonmembers. I think it would help USHJA understand where someone's views are coming from.

Salymandar,

Thank you very much for your input.

Shelby posts one topic per week. At this moment, they are all topics that she has chosen because the blog is new and there hasn't been much time for people to give feedback. I know that she would like to write on topics that interest people. I also like your idea that it could help people who can't attend the Annual Meeting.

At this time although only members can post, any person can read the blog and questions. As far as the member vs. non-member part, I understand that people worry that they are being "tracked". I had a lengthy conversation with Shelby about this and it was clear to me that she has no idea who the posters are. She does have their e mail address but that is all that she has. I will continue to press to allow non-member participation but I think I would have more success if the blog started to spark some interest.

Please don't be shy. If you are a USHJA member, post a question or a blog response.

Thanks!